Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
Paperback, 336 pages
"Human beings were never born to read," writes Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist and child development expert Maryanne Wolf. Reading is a human invention that reflects how the brain rearranges itself to learn something new. In this ambitious, provocative book, Wolf chronicles the remarkable journey of the reading brain not only over the past five thousand years, since writing began, but also over the course of a single child's life, showing in the process why children with dyslexia have reading difficulties and singular gifts.
Lively, erudite, and rich with examples, Proust and the Squid asserts that the brain that examined the tiny clay tablets of the Sumerians was a very different brain from the one that is immersed in today's technology-driven literacy. The potential transformations in this changed reading brain, Wolf argues, have profound implications for every child and for the intellectual development of our species.
Part I: How the Brain Learned to Read
1 - Reading Lessons from Proust and the Squid
2 - How the Brain Adapted Itself to Read: The First Writing Systems
3 - The Birth of an Alphabet and Socrates' Protests
Part II: How the Brain Learns to Read Over Time
4 - The Beginnings of Reading Development, or Not
5 - The "Natural History" of Reading Development: Connecting the Parts of the Young Reading Brain
6 - The Unending Story of Reading's Development
Part III: When the Brain Can't Learn to Read
7 - Dyslexia's Puzzle and the Brain's Design
8 - Genes, Gifts, and Dyslexia
9 - Conclusions: From the Reading Brain to "What Comes Next"